Fantasy Football: Panthers running backs

      August 24, 2012 @ 12:15:18 PDT

I've received countless questions from close friends, family members and callers on the radio about a certain hot topic as fantasy football enthusiasts head into their 2012 drafts: How is the running back situation going to play out in Carolina?

Well, that is a very good question, indeed. I usually slightly chuckle when posed with that question, just because there is no real concrete answer. Actually, the answer is nobody really knows, except for maybe Ron Rivera and his coaching staff. And even then, they probably aren't exactly sure how it will play out, and it'll likely be a week-to-week fluctuation.

Carolina Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart
A muddled mess in CAR

The bottom line: there are a lot of mouths to feed between DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and offseason addition Mike Tolbert. Don't forget about Cam Newton, either, who ran in 14 scores in his rookie year. If you want to avoid a Washington Redskins-like running back frustration all year long, it's best to avoid the backfield situation in Carolina, too.

J-Stew and DAW are your best bets for fantasy production, but as long as both of them are sharing the same backfield, they'll be frustrating weekly plays. Both are home run threats, too, but without consistent touches, those moments may be few and far between - and maddeningly hard to predict.

We're expecting the Panthers to score often as an offense as well. This could pose even more headaches among their stable of runners. While Stewart and Williams do much of the work to arrive at the goal line, Tolbert could vulture goal line totes often given his nose for the end zone and bruising rushing style. Donít forget about that Newton fellow, either, when the team smells paydirt.

My advice: save yourself the misery of enduring this three-headed monster and target a safer RB early in your draft. If you feel compelled, J-Stew and DAW are low-end No. 3 rushers in my book. You can hold off a bit longer on Williams (86.34 ADP per Mock Draft Central) than with Stewart (68.63 ADP). Tolbert really isn't worth drafting unless you're in an extremely deep league, own one of the other two Carolina backs or there is an injury in these final two preseason contests.

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About Keith Hernandez

Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.

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